Before we begin, I have two notes:
1) Remember last week when I mentioned that someone should write a treatise on RuPaul’s issues with transgendered terminology in liue of last week’s “Female or She-Male” challenge? Well, a few people have!
2) Some clever puss on the internet has come up with a fabulous mash-up between RuPaul’s Drag Race and Adventure Time featuring a rather divisive character (from Drag Race that is):
(Side Note: Now I want a supercut of Princess Bubblebum dubbed with Courtney Act. In fact, let’s just recast the whole show while we’re at it: either BenDeLaCreme or Darienne Lake as Tree Trunks, and maybe Bianca Del Rio as Marcelline. And while we’re at it, why hasn’t RuPaul done more animation work? He’s got the energy for it!)
But enough diversions! The time has come… for Snatch Game!
Yes, everyone’s favorite game show parody is back and I could not be happier! To quote myself from this time last year:
In every reality TV show like this, there is always a challenge that the fans wait for because it defines the core values of the show. On Project Runway, it’s the Unconventional Materials challenge, where the designers must make a fashion forward garment from non-traditional materials (i.e. hardware supplies, recycled materials, etc.). On Top Chef, it’s Restaurant Wars, where the chefs form two teams and open a pop-up restaurant.
And on RuPaul’s Drag Race, there are two challenges. While the reading challenge will come later this season, it’s time for Snatch Game!
For those who’ve never seen it, Snatch Game has been a part of the show since Season 2. In it, the remaining nine queens (EDIT: ten queens this year) basically have to bring their funniest celebrity impersonation in a riff on the old game show Match Game, where contestants have to match their responses to the wild celebrity responses. Click here to see a classic Match Game clip to get a sense of what I’m talking about.
Jumping back to the present day: The reason that Drag Race fans eagerly await Snatch Game is manifold. First off, celebrity impersonations are one of the cornerstones of drag and gender illusion. While not every drag queen is a celebrity impersonator, many that have come from RuPaul’s Ersatz School For Wayward Girls have made careers in the field (the best example Season 4 runner up and All Stars winner Chad Michaels, who is world-renown for her Cher impersonation – to the point where People has mistaken her for Cher in print). The other reason that everyone eagerly awaits Snatch Game is that it easily weeds out the strong competitors from the cannon fodder. And most of all, Snatch Game brings some of the most memorable moments. See if you can remember who said what during past editions:
– “I spread Le Mer on toast!”
– “I got lost!”
– “We were doing everything. We were on upppers, downers, candy corn!”
– “Get your life!”
– “I can’t tell if it’s cat food or paté.”
– “I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts.”
After the Snatch Game, Ru has the girls hit their runway in their best RuPaul looks for herself, Michelle, Santino, and guest judges (and Snatch Game contestants) Gillian Jacobs of Community and Heather MacDonald of Chelsea Lately.
Let’s judge the girls, shall we? Starting from the upper left…
– Bianca Del Rio as Judge Judy
No surprise here, Bianca was on fire as Judge Judy, and even knowing that she’s one of Ru’s favorite people did not rattle her. You could tell Ru had high hopes for Bianca as she put her in the upper left position of the Snatch Game panel, which is where the funny people get put. Even so, this was an inspired choice for her (and the bailiff puppet was a great touch). And while the look was on point, it felt too similar to Bianca’s other looks. And while Bianca is a judgemental bitch, her reads come from wanting the other queens to step up and be the best they can be so she has worthy competition.
– Adore Delano as Anna Nicole Smith
Adore is a divisive figure; on the one hand she’s sloppy but talented but on the other hand she’s clearly Ru’s “project” for the season. That said, Adore shocked everyone with her on-point quaaluded-out Anna Nicole. And while the dress was a slight mess, what a difference that waist cincher made to her silhouette (and how cute is it to see that Bianca was nice to her and lend her a cincher).
– Milk as Julia Child
I could forgive the sloppiness of the impersonation if she managed to be funny. As Dan Aykroyd proved on Saturday Night Live (and Meryl Streep proved in Julie and Julia when she recreated the famous potato pancake drop), Julia Child was a naturally witty woman and could on more than one occasion be funny as hell. Alas, Milk didn’t go there. As for the runway look in which she served workroom Ru, it was a ballsy choice. But I do not buy for one second that she is insecure with doing full on glam. She should take a page from Season 1 runner up Nina Flowers, who still to this day had the most varied looks in the competition that ran from punk to glam to fish to full on gender fuck. Given her performance today and her reticence to try any look that even comes close to traditionally female, I don’t think Milk is long for this competition.
– Courtney Act as Fran Drescher
Great look in both the challenge and the runway but middle of the road performance.
– Laganja Estranja as Rachel Zoe
I have had it with this needy attention whore! And apparently so has everyone else. During Untucked, she came after everyone but no one was taking the bait. Even her good friend Adore was not buying Laganja’s pity party. As for her performance as Rachel Zoe, the look was right, the voice was right, but the performance was robotic and had no zest to it. No wonder she was in the bottom two.
– Darienne Lake as Paula Dean
Not bad at all as Paula Dean and the runway was lovely. In my scoring of the event she came in a very close 4th Place.
– Gia Gunn as Kim Kardashian
First thing’s first – after five seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race, every queen competing should know by now that Snatch Game is coming and you should be prepared accordingly. Additionally, you should be prepared for any rattling that Ru is going to do because she loves trying to throw her girls off of their game. Gia’s first instinct of doing Selena was a horrid choice because as Adore pointed out there was nothing funny that could be done with her. Her second choice as Kim Kardashian was a smart choice, but she was unprepared and thus couldn’t make her funny at all. (Gillian Jacobs’ idea of having her start each sentence with a K would have been brilliant). And while the runway dress was a dead on copy for Ru’s dress, it looked shoddily made and the wig was a mess. Bottom two!
– Joslyn Fox as Theresa Giudice
It’s just as she’s predicted: Joslyn Fox IS the black horse of this competition. As Roxxy Andrews proved last season, you can do a lesser known person as long as you can make them funny. As Theresa Giudice from The Real Housewives of New Jersey she was genuinely funny (the opening bit about her last name was hilarious). Joslyn may come off as sweet and slightly clueless, and I’m guessing she really is, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t prepared to play the game and do her homework. That said, I almost wish she had done Fran Drescher instead of Courtney as her voice naturally has that Flushing nasality and could have put her in the top three instead of safely in the middle. As for the runway look it was okay.
– BenDeLaCreme as Maggie Smith
“I don’t do impersonations. I don’t do accents.” To which I have two words to say; Bull Shit. You can easily tell that DeLa had prepared her take on Dame Maggie Smith as Violet in Downton Abbey for a while. Everything from the costume to the intricate makeup to the voice to the physicality (including Dame Maggie’s glorious resting bitch face) was on point. (Don’t believe me? Look at my Downton Abbey recaps and compare and contrast the two.) And she came up with some hilarious lines to boot (“Let’s keep it Mister Charles and Dame Smith, shall we?” “Citrus flavored vodka! Can you imagine such an amusing libation?”). As for the look, it’s eerily accurate (as Ru herself said “First she stole Michelle’s look, then she stole mine.”) No contest for the win here. (Side Note: Technically when one refers to a Knight or a Dame of the British Empire it’s the honorific and then the first name, not the last; i.e. Dame Maggie, not Dame Smith).
– Trinity K. Bonet as Nicki Minaj
Gorgeous runway presentation. Thankfully she didn’t do Beyoncé, but Trinity’s take on Nicki Minaj kind of fell flat. One of the big problems with Snatch Game is that whoever you impersonate can’t be someone who’s visuals are their only source of humor (which is why Lady Gaga and Katy Perry will always be horrible choices for this challenge). That said, it was nice to see her unburden herself in Untucked about her HIV status and get a much needed video call from home. Hopefully this will encourage her to bring it more to the competition.
So Laganja and Gia found themselves in the bottom and had to lip sync for their lives to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam’s “Head To Toe,” and sadly neither queen brought it to the performance. Laganja threw out every dance move she had (split leaps, death drops) but it all felt too much and didn’t really go with the song, while Gia just felt flat. While I would have been fine with a double elimination, alas Gia was told to Sashay away (and spewed shade and invective as she left)
To THE DRAG RACE SCOREBOARD: No points for the mini challenge, 4 for the win, 2 for top three, 1 for safe, 0 for bottom three, -1 for Lip Syncing For Your Life, -2 for Sashay Away…
– Adore Delano: 6
– BenDeLaCreme: 12
– Bianca Del Rio: 9
– Courtney Act: 8
– Darienne Lake: 4
– Gia Gunn: 1
– Joslyn Fox: 4
– Laganja Estranja: 3
– Milk: 6
– Trinity K. Bonet: 4
NEXT TIME: Rap. Hip Hop. Fly Girls. Trina. Eve. And the four most frightening words in this competition.
Photo Credits: Logo / World Of Wonder